Munch/BSO: La Mer + Rapsodie Espagnole - RCA VICS-1041 (2S/2S stampers)
Jacket EX / Vinyl EX / US pressing
This beautiful LP from RCA (VICS-1041, US pressing, plum/silver label – 2S/2S stampers, stereo) features conductor Charles Munch and the Boston Symphony Orchestra in a magnificent pairing of Debussy's La Mer with Ravel's Rapsodie Espagnole.
'Le Beau Charles' and the BSO are on absolute top form and both works were taped in the fabled acoustics of Symphony Hall, Boston, the RCA engineers achieving a demonstration quality sound that truly exemplifies the 'Golden Age of Stereo'.
The exact discography details are as follows:
Debussy: La Mer – rec. 9 December 1956
Ravel: Rapsodie Espagnole – rec. 23 January 1956
When Munch and the BSO's La Mer was first released, the critic T.H. wrote in his review for the December 1957 issue of The Gramophone:
"This is a fine performance and recording of La Mer. Reviewing Paray's record last month I said that, though he gave a meticulously clear performance of the score, he seemed to me to have forgotten what the music was about. Munch makes no such mistake but gives a superb series of impressions of the sea. Here is the colour and the sweep, the forward-flowing movement. It is certainly among the most recommended issues of this music: indeed, I think, one would only consider the superb Toscanini disc as a rival. The orchestral playing itself is of virtuoso standard."
Incidentally, the striking cover art reproduces Giulio Romano's "The Birth of Venus". There are excellent liner notes (uncredited) on the reverse side of the jacket, printed in English only.
The gradations of condition I use are as follows: MINT, Near-Mint, Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor.
The condition of the jacket is EXCELLENT. There is a slight bend to the upper-right corner, but that is all. Otherwise, the album appears almost as new. There are no seamsplits, bends, owners' markings, or other defects, and the album remains solid, bright, and highly attractive – overall, an excellent collector's copy.
The condition of the LP itself is EXCELLENT. While there are a few slightly noisy passages, in general the playback is quite fine. However, those requiring a flawless or near-MINT copy are kindly advised to look elsewhere. Overall, this rates as an excellent collector's copy.